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Crazy Talk: Big Bucks Can Lead to Questionable Choices

Sometimes, 'big buck derangement syndrome' makes a passion an obsession.

Crazy Talk: Big Bucks Can Lead to Questionable Choices

Illustration by David Houston

It was a Thursday night in the middle of deer season, and Shane's family was about to eat dinner. As soon as they took their seats, Shane held out his cellphone for his father to see.

"Check out this buck from the trail cam," he said, trying to be nonchalant.

The giant non-typical on the screen had eight points on its left antler, six on the other and a big drop tine.

"Ever seen anything like that?"


"Never around here!" said Shane's father. "On our lease? You kidding me?”


"It was taken this morning on the lease," Shane replied.

"Let me see," said Shane's sister.

"So where's the trail cam?" asked Shane's father. "It doesn't look like the same spot we put it in a few weeks ago."

"Not tellin'!" declared Shane.


"You're not telling me, your own father? The one who bought you the camera and takes you hunting?"

"Nope," said Shane as he hid a smile behind his glass of tea.

"It doesn't look that big to me," remarked Shane’s sister. "In class Jimmy Davis was showing everyone pictures of a deer his brother got yesterday. Now it was big."


"And Jimmy's got a big mouth," said Shane. "He was braggin' about killing deer at night with a spotlight before the season started."

"That's awful," said Shane’s mother.

"Yeah," said Shane’s father. "Makes me sick, as it should all hunters.”

"Well, it was a huge deer," stressed Shane's sister.

"That's beside the point," said her father. "Shane, if you ever see anyone doing something like that, call the warden. People who break game laws aren't hunters, but they give hunters a bad name."

"I don't understand why someone would break the law to kill a deer," said Shane. "They have to know it's not right."

"I don't get it either," said his father. "But I know one thing: Big bucks make people crazy."

"Not all people," interjected Shane's mother. "Just people without good sense. There are plenty of rumors in this town about obsessive hunters who spend more time in the woods chasing some silly buck than they do at home … or at work."

"No doubt we can sometimes take our hobby a little too seriously," said Shane's father, "but so can golfers."

Shane quickly cleared his plate and then rose from his seat.

"Dad, will you take me to the property right now?"

"Why? It's dark. You gonna hunt at night?" Shane's sister teased.

"No, but I think Drop Tine is coming in before daylight, so I want to be there way early. I'm gonna sleep in my deer stand."

Shane's mother almost choked on her potatoes. "Tonight?" she gasped. "Shane you can't be serious."

"Tell her, Dad," said Shane. "If you spook an old buck like this, he'll probably disappear for good. So is it cool?"

"No, it's not cool," said Shane’s mother. "If you didn't fall to your death first, you’'d surely freeze."

"I’ll be in a harness and a sleeping bag," countered Shane.

Shane's father laughed. "Look who's got a serious case of big buck derangement syndrome now! You've got school in the morning, buddy boy; did you forget? No way."

”Nice try bro," said Shane's sister.

"Well, can we at least camp this weekend?" asked Shane.

"Now you're talking," said Shane’s dad. "Sure, we can go … if …"

"If what?" asked Shane.

"If you tell me where that picture of Drop Tine was taken."

"In the far corner of the hay meadow."

”Cool!" said Shane’s father as he pushed his chair back. "Now excuse me. I gotta get some sleep."

"What're you gonna do?" asked Shane.

"I’m taking tomorrow off to hunt!" said Shane's father with a wink.

"Guess I'm the one with the big mouth," grumbled Shane.

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